Animal protection group accuses Sheriff’s Dept of misconduct over arrest, harassment at rodeo

SHARK (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness) PRESS RELEASE

Graphic Footage of Animal Cruelty Released

Jordan Valley, OR (May 21, 2013) — SHARK has uncovered disturbing ties between the Malheur County Sheriff’s Department and the Jordan Valley Big Loop Rodeo. These ties may explain why Malheur County Sheriff officers not only violently arrested SHARK volunteer Adam Fahnestock who was filming the 2013 Big Loop Rodeo, but forced another SHARK volunteer to leave the arena.

At the 2012 rodeo, SHARK filmed such graphic animal cruelty that the videos went viral, with over 200,000 views and spurred the Oregon State legislature to consider banning horse tripping. You can view the two videos here: and here:

Whether it is called horse tripping, or looping, it is a dangerous and terrifying event for the horse, resulting in injury and death.  We have found that most of the horses used in this cruel and shameful event are bought out of feedlots or from kill buyers for slaughterhouses.  Another reason to end horse slaughter, as if we need one.  SHARK image.
Whether it is called horse tripping, or looping, it is a dangerous and terrifying event for the horse, resulting in injury and death. We have found that most of the horses used in this cruel and shameful event are bought out of feedlots or from kill buyers for slaughterhouses. Another reason to end horse slaughter, as if we need one. SHARK image.

On Friday, May 17, 2013, the first day of the rodeo, Fahnestock filmed horrific acts of cruelty, including one animal with a severely broken leg and two horses that were slammed to the ground. SHARK is now releasing that video, which can be viewed here:

Fearing that this new footage would cause similar outrage, on Saturday, May 18, Malheur County Sheriff’s officers swept in, arrested Fahnestock and ordered another activist to leave. On Sunday, May 19, they repeated their misconduct by ordering SHARK President Steve Hindi to leave the rodeo as well.

SHARK has initiated an investigation into the existing connections between the rodeo and the Malheur County Sheriff’s Department who the group accuses of violations of free speech, and using intimidation tactics. The following is part of the report. The full report is available upon request.

  • The Malheur County Sheriff’s Department also has direct ties to the Big Loop Rodeo through their deputies. In his testimony before the above-mentioned Senate committee, Jordan Valley Mayor Jake Roe stated, “The Sheriff’s posse sells food at the park to raise money…” Jerry Raburn, an official with the Jordan Valley Rodeo Association, told the Senate Committee that “Not only is the rodeo a boost for the businesses here, but also for volunteer groups, service organizations, schools and churches,” including the “Malheur County Sheriff’s Deputies.”
  • According to Malheur County Sheriff Sergeant Richard Harriman, who, along with Bob Wroten forced one of SHARK’s activists to leave the rodeo, that Wroten himself was not only a Malheur County Deputy, but also held a dual position on the “rodeo board.”
  • Malheur County Sheriff Brian E. Wolfe defended the Jordan Valley Big Loop Rodeo and horse tripping in a letter sent to the Oregon State Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, which recently held a hearing on a bill to ban “horse tripping.” Wolfe misused his official county stationary and position as Sheriff to made a political statement when he said “I personally oppose any and all legislation, laws, or rules prohibiting Rodeo events including Horse Roping.”

“We now know that the Malheur County Sheriff Officers, the same men who violated the rights of our activists, have deep ties to the rodeo,” states SHARK President Steve Hindi. “When they saw the cruelty that was documented on the first day, they abused their power on the second and third day to make sure that no more video would make it to public view. That’s outrageous, and the Sheriff’s office needs to be held accountable for acting like thugs protecting a good old boys network of animal abuse and cruelty.”

# # #


If you are a resident of Oregon, please contact your State legislators to support SB 835.

If you live in or outside the state of Oregon and want this practice banned, please:

Please be sure to post links to the SHARK videos above.

Thank you.

17 thoughts on “Animal protection group accuses Sheriff’s Dept of misconduct over arrest, harassment at rodeo”

  1. This is unbelievable. What useless “law” men. I use this word loosely. Is this their only form of entertainment? How can this be allowed? It is so barbaric and cruel, there is no justification for this. These men are seriously lacking in balls. I would like to see them tripped and slammed to the ground, including the “law”.


  2. SHARK is a bunch of bull shit (as well as PETA and HSUS). They manipulate videos and string a bunch of unknowing people into thinking “their” way by using a bunch of lies and misleading propaganda. As the saying goes “don’t believe everything you read or see on the internet.” Before condemning, do some research of your own. You should PERSONALLY understand ALL of the implications banning anything can bring. Don’t jump off the cliff just because some radical tells you to do so.


    1. We personally understand alright about the cruelties of rodeos. Where would the world be without rodeos? A much better place.

      If compassion appears to be radical it is because there are way too many people who think like you. The practices use to get animals to “perform” in these brutal spectacles are by definition sadistic.

      “Sadism is the derivation of pleasure as a result of inflicting pain, cruelty, degradation, or humiliation, or, watching such behaviors inflicted on others.”


    2. You, the sheriff, and all the boys in JVBLR
      (Just Vicious Bastards & Losers Ring) need to be put in your own round pen.


    3. I so wish that SHARK was a bunch of liars. Unfortunately, videos speak the truth in pictures. These egrecious acts of violence against horses are unacceptable. You and supporters seemed to be so concerned about the financial spin-offs from the rodeo. However, money can be made in many other ways. You don’t have to abuse animals in order to support jobs or raise money. Another thing, you are the radicals not SHARK, PETA OR HSUS. Any civilized person can watch that video and come to the conclusion that the acts are abusive and disturbing.


  3. This is no better than than the Roman coliseum pitting people and animals against each other. We recognize that that was barbaric and cruel, why are we still doing it? Scaring, hurting, killing, and harassing animals is NOT a sport, it’s just sick and cruel.


  4. These despicable, and egregious acts if cruelty against horses must be immediately stopped. The abuse of power by the Sheriffs Department financially benefitting from these illegal acts of documented abuse should immediately cease. I suggest they raise money via humane and legal methods. Nothing justifies this horrific abuse against horses.


  5. Corruption in law enforcement ………..horses suffer
    Takes an animal……………………………to treat a horse this way.


  6. I have been getting the Shark news letter for a couple of years and they have been trying to get the gun club to stop using live birds for target practice. And no matter how they try the good ole boys club is still doing it, with the local police chief’s blessing. just like these rodeos they feel they can do no wrong. Shark exposed the use of hand held shocking devices that was being used on the horses at other rodeos around the country. There were photos of the guy leaning out toward the horse in the chute just before the gate was opened shocking it to make sure it came out bucking even if it didn’t want to. i have seen a lot of cruelty Shark has exposed. Like all if the maimed pigeons that that have fell in the nearby river that was shot at the gun club that drowned. The gun club also has kids that belong to members gather up the pigeons that have been shot but not killed and toss them in a pile of dead birds to to die with no thought toward the birds at all.


    1. A perfect example of an illegal attempt to prosecute someone based on an AG GAG LAW that doesn’t exist. Let’s rescue Adam from jail, and make certain that no more of these laws pass. And then let’s work on putting these horse abusers in Jail…


  7. This post broke my heart….this is terrible and horrific abuse. No animal should have to be treated like this ever…and certainly not in the name of a cowboy traditional rodeo that is suppose to be about the old fashioned way of truly being a buckaroo. This is NOT honorable nor supported. I have been around livestock my entire life and there is NO excuse for this….none….Big Loop or not! It is time to stop mistreating and abusing wild horses to prove the egos of childish men who are not true cowboys! Real men, real cowboys and specifically those who live by the code of the west, would never choose to do this to a wild horse….let alone for the enjoyment for the crowd? What kind of crowd wants to see this type of treatment to an animal…this is cruelty and abuse. It is barbaric and it is time to STOP! Shame on you Jordan Valley Big Loop!


  8. Don’t care for Big Loop or it’s proponents, for any reason or on any level. But abuse of any one under color of authority? That’s violating the civil rights of an individual because they pissed you off.
    Seems brutality is hard wired into these fools, regardless of species, doesn’t it?


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s